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Just Because It's Trash Doesn't Mean You Can Chuck It: 3 Things That Should Be Disposed Of Carefully

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You may be very careful about keeping recyclable materials out of your trash bin, like paper and plastic, but are you as careful about keeping hazardous materials out as well? While residential trash removal services are willing to pick up just about anything, there are things that need to be specially disposed of. Here are three things to keep out of your trash cans:

1. Your Hot Wood Ash & Charcoal

With all of the wildfires raging across the U.S., it's imperative that you aren't negligent with hot wood ash or charcoal. Whether it's from your indoor fireplace or outdoor grill, you should keep ashes in a metal container that can be sealed. Of course, you should not add live embers to this designated ash bucket, and you should wait for the ashes to cool completely before adding them. Some places are actually more lenient and will let you dispose of bagged-up cold ash. However, you should let ashes sit for at least three days before bagging them up. If you are throwing away semi-used charcoal, wrap it in aluminum foil before chucking it. 

For municipalities that are more strict, there are other ways you can dispose of completely cool ash. For instance, since ash contains potassium carbonate, it can be used as a fertilizer. Some people even use it in their compost bins or in their gardens as a natural pest repellent.

2. Your Old Electronics

You most likely already know you shouldn't throw away batteries since they contain corrosive chemicals. However, taking batteries out of an old electronic, like an alarm clock, doesn't mean that you can throw it out. Many old printers, consoles, TVs, lamps, DVD players, etc. contain metals like lead and cadmium. These heavy metals are bad for the environment, so it's much better to take your items in for donation. For instance, stores like Game Stop may take your old gaming console and give you a little store credit. There are non-profit organizations that take old TVs and laptops for schools, libraries, and after-school programs.

3. Your Unused Paint

Oil-based paints and cleaners are considered to be household hazardous wastes (HHW). While you may not be able to throw extra paint away in your regular trash bin, some trash removal services do offer HHW pick-up, you just need to give them prior notice. Some cities do allow residences to throw away zero-VOC latex paint. To do this, you'd just mix the extra paint with some kitty litter until it solidifies. Then you'd bag up the dried paint. 

As you can see, these materials can be safely disposed of or reused for other tasks. Talk with your local trash services if you have some HHW material that you don't know how to dispose of.